Crying 'birthday cake' on Iraq

August 31, 2007 

U.S. Rep. Brian Baird said a lot in a meeting yesterday with The Olympian’s editorial board. He’s so used to being questioned for his new stance on Iraq that with only the smallest nudge, he launched into a 13-minute rehashing of the situation.

But here seems to the be bottom line: very few people trust President Bush when it comes to Iraq, and Baird says that credibility gap has extended to everything about the Middle East:

The problem is we have an Administration that not only called wolf, they cried whatever the alternative is – birthday cake. They cried "wolf" to scare people and they cried "birthday cake" to lure people in. So every time they say there’s progress, nobody believes them; they’ve heard it before. And every time they say there’s a threat, nobody believes them.

Now, like the other night, I talk about the threat Iran poses, everybody stands up and says ‘Oh, yeah, we heard that about Iraq.’ Time out: The U. N. Atomic Energy Commission believes Iran is a significant nuclear threat. They didn’t say Iraq was. That’s a real difference. And if we pretend that because Bush lied once, every other threat isn’t real – that’s dangerous.

We have to set aside our displeasure for President Bush -- and it's beyond displeasure as you know for many people -- and our distaste and our anger at being lied to and say as objectively as we can, what’s the situation now and where do we need to go?


Baird was clearly impressed by what he saw in Iraq, you can watch him talk about it in this video. He insists, as well, that he tried to set the agenda for some of his trip. The military, or course, has also taken great care in orchestrating trips for members Congress.

“We did not just stay in the Green Zone, we did not just get a power point. We spent a lot of time, 14 days in 4 months, meeting with people from around the region,” Baird said.

Indeed, Baird said that many who are blasting him have locked themselves into an exit-only view without considering the consequences:

There seems to be this notion that the possibility of error and bad consequence only applies to those who say ‘stay.’ And withdrawal somehow gets a free pass. Withdrawal doesn’t get a free pass.

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